January 31, 2024, Lt. Col. James Alvin Shearer, 78, of Lunenburg, MA, passed away at his home surrounded by love. The lake was calm, the air crisp, and the birds he loved so much peacefully lifted him through the clouds to heaven. Jim was one of 4 siblings and was born November 20, 1945, in Brooklyn, NY, to the late Frances (Riccobono) and Herbert Q. Shearer of Morrison, Colorado. He is survived by his siblings Judith Ann (Shearer) and Wayne Yost of Camp Hill, PA, and Richard and Courtney Shearer of Sinking Springs, PA. He was preceded in death by his brother William Shearer of Harrisburg.
Jim was a 20+ year resident of Lunenburg and served on the Board of Hickory Hills Lake for several years. This was the place that brought him peace, a place where his family could come together and share laughs, BBQ, accomplishments, and celebrations. Jim was also the captain of his boat and spent many beautiful days trolling the lake, waving to the neighbors, and searching for the best fishing spots. He found great joy in taking anyone who visited for a cruise.
His children Candace (Shearer) and Mark King, of Shirley, MA; Kristin Shearer, of Maynard, MA; James Marc Shearer and Vickie Witkum and Littleton, MA, along with his grandchildren Trevor and Ariel Shearer of Littleton, Cora and Cody Shearer of Littleton grew up spending their summers jumping off his dock, swimming, and fishing. He always had enough poles and bait for whoever came. Just this past year, his great-grandchildren Evelyn, Lucas, and Juliette Shearer had their 1st ice skating lessons. Evelyn took the trophy for the largest fish ever caught at the Shearer house this past summer. That is what made him most proud: surrounded by family and being together.
Jim grew up in Aurora, Colorado, attending Aurora Central High School, and at age 13, joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). His father was a volunteer pilot for CAP search and rescue, and Jim joined him on many of his rescue missions in the Rocky Mountains. By graduation, he ranked Colonel, received his Pilot wings, and became the local squadron Cadet Commander. This launched Jim into a lifetime Military Career to not only serve his country but to live life with integrity, honor, and respect.
In 1963, he attended Colorado State University, where he graduated with honors in 1968 with a Civil Engineering Degree. During his college years, he joined the Air Force ROTC, where once again he achieved the highest rank of Colonel, was awarded a Military Science Medal, an Excellence in Military and Academics Medal, and was the Cadet Commander of CSU ROTC.
After graduation he started his career in the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant, and with his young wife (formally Karen Wolfe) moved to Moody Airforce base in Georgia. In 1970, Jim was transferred to Dayton, Ohio, accepting an opportunity to get his master’s in science in Geodesy. After graduation in 1971, he was immediately shipped to Utapao AFB in Thailand as a Civil Engineer to support B-52 bomber deployments into North Vietnam. His young family of 3 children waited in Colorado for 18 long months to see their father return safely.
After his deployment in 1973, he and his family were transferred to Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY, where he was assigned to the Defense Mapping Agency. He traveled the country to calibrate equipment that was used to align Minuteman and Titan Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. This assignment then led him to Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts.
In 1979, Jim regretfully separated from active duty and joined the Air Force Reserves Geophysics Laboratory. His priority was to provide a stable place for his children to complete their education in Acton, MA. His love for the military was strong, but his love for his family was stronger. During his active duty, he was awarded The Bronze Star, The Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Airforce Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Gallant Unit Citation, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Vietnam Service medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Airforce Outstanding Unit Award, Airforce Longevity Service Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Armed forces Reserve Ribbon.
In 1983, he started a second career at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and completed his master’s in business administration by attending night school. During the next 25 years he worked closely with the US Air Force, NASA, and eventually under the umbrella of the US Navy and earned more achievements until his retirement.
In 1993, Jim was honorably retired from the Air Force and was honored with a ceremony on the USS Constitution, Boston Harbor, MA. He is quoted as saying, “No one can ever get rich as a serviceman, but I truly had an exciting and meaningful career.” He felt very honored and proud knowing that throughout his life, he made a direct impact on the United States’ national security… The US Air Force acknowledged those sacrifices with the rows of ribbons, medals, awards, and clusters he proudly wore on his uniform. In 2005, Lt Col. James A. Shearer retired in full from inactive duty after serving 37 years and eight months.
Jim was a man of great character and truly admirable. He showed us all what it meant to persevere and never give up, to laugh and enjoy every moment, to learn forgiveness and show mercy, and to live with honor and dignity. Jim was a Hero to his country, his community, and his family. He loved Golfing, watching Football, and sharing his Mike’s hard lemonade by his dock. He spent his spare time at his grandchildren’s games and events. He loved nature, and adventure, he loved books, and a good murder mystery movie. He lived by his faith and honored God. Jim never met anyone who didn’t love his quick wit and charm. He was humble in his daily life and could make you laugh at his ridiculously corny jokes (even if you wanted to cry). Jim was a man who stood tall but was never afraid to share his heart or help console your own. For all that knew him, we are Blessed and Grateful. He will be missed by all and cherished forever.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Jim for calling hours on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, from 4:00-7:00 pm at the Badger Funeral Home, 317 King Street, Littleton, MA. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 10:00 am at the Acton Congregational Church, 12 Concord Rd., Acton. Burial will follow with full U.S. Air Force Military Honors at Westlawn Cemetery, Littleton.
Donations in his memory may be made to:
The Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road #300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 347 King Street, Littleton, MA 01460 978-486-3809 www.badgerfuneral.com